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USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
*2nd year eligible
Quebec – F Vladimir Tkachev (2015*), F Dmytro Timashov (2015)
Kelowna – F Leon Draisaitl (Oilers), F Nick Merkley (2015)
Final score: 9-3 Kelowna
Vladimir Tkachev started the game on a line with Dmytro Timashov but midway through they were separated and Tkachev didn’t play much in the latter half.
Dmytro Timashov started almost all of his shifts outside of the offensive zone until the very end of the game. He had three offensive zone starts (a couple as a result to icings) in the final few minutes. It was clear that Quebec had no problem with him starting outside of the OZ and they relied on him heavily to drive play up ice.
Nick Merkley and Leon Draisaitl are linemates and were once again relied upon to do the heavy lifting for the Rockets. They fared extremely well in doing so, which you’ll see below.
Vladdy Hockey had four controlled entries in the first eight minutes of the game, and just one in the final 52. More than anything that was a result of almost no ice time in the latter half of the game. Despite limited ice he was still excellent through the neutral zone and did a good job moving the puck in the right direction.
It’s not hard to see why Timashov started the majority of his shifts outside of the offensive zone. He’s a very good skater with excellent puck skills so he’s able to dance around defenders even when challenged.
Merkley was absolutely dominant through the neutral zone. He’s a great skater and his speed regularly forces defenders to back up and give him the line. There’s also always the option of dishing it off to Draisaitl which defenders have to respect. That often gives Merkley more space to work with.
Draisaitl wasn’t perfect but was once again very good through the middle of the ice. He’s not a burner but he has a great set of hands on him which makes him tough to defend in space.
Tkachev didn’t bring his best possession game to the table, however, he went huge chunks of minutes without a shift at times which probably didn’t help his cause. One shift he was caught out for seven shot attempts against vs the Merkley/Draisaitl line and that killed his numbers. Beyond that one shift he was actually pretty good and his neutral zone work was excellent.
Timashov played about as well as you can in a 9-3 loss. He was effective through the neutral zone, came out positive in possession despite a good chunk of defensive zone starts and he also chipped in a power play goal.
Merkley somehow didn’t get on the scoresheet despite an excellent showing. He was perfect through the neutral zone and dominated in possession while starting just one of 17 even-strength shifts in the offensive zone.
Last but not least we have Leon the beast Draisaitl. He was excellent in all aspects of the game and that shows up in his underlying numbers. For the standard stat crowd he scored a goal, added two assists and recorded six shots on goal while also winning over 60% of his faceoffs. He was a man amongst boys in this one.
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